I am studying glacier mass balance and have ASTER and SRTM DEMs. I want to make an elevation/volume change image such that it graphically represents changes in elevation difference in various parts of the glacier. If anyone can suggest an outline for how to perform it in ArcGIS 9.3, I would be highly beneficial for my project

  • Can you go into some more detail as to what changes you want to represent? i.e. Change in elevation over time, difference in elevation over a distance, or difference in elevation relative to the underlying terrain. Mar 5 '13 at 16:12

I am assuming that you have these DEMs in Raster form.

In that case, the simplest method is to use the Minus geoprocessing tool to generate a new raster which generates the difference between these two raster DEMs.

You can then render this new raster, to show the positive and negative difference between the two rasters.

In case you do not have the 3D extension, you could use GDAL to do the same


If you are comparing two DEMs (e.g. Glacier Surface in 2000, Glacier Surface in 2005), then the Minus tool shows the difference between them. You need either a 3D Analyst or Spatial Analyst extension license to use that.

If you are looking for an elevation profile on one DEM (e.g. what is the elevation change from Here to There on my glacier?), then you can make a graph using the 3D Analyst toolbar. (Detailed steps from Esri's help.) That tool is specific to 3D Analyst.

  • Welcome to our site, Erica!
    – whuber
    Mar 5 '13 at 20:00
  • Thanks :) looking forward to learning a lot more about GIS while answering very occasional questions...
    – Erica
    Mar 6 '13 at 13:48

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